This week we feature an article by Molly Moore about why phone calls and online chat can make the difference between customer-centric brands and everybody else. Despite our advances in technology today and the many ways in which we can now communicate, the phone call isn’t going anywhere. This might seem like a decidedly old-school […]
This week we feature an article by Molly Moore about why phone calls and online chat can make the difference between customer-centric brands and everybody else.
Despite our advances in technology today and the many ways in which we can now communicate, the phone call isn’t going anywhere. This might seem like a decidedly old-school customer service channel, but calls are as important, if not more so than ever and more consumers are calling businesses today than any other time in history.
In fact, nearly two-thirds (65%) of potential customers want to reach brands by phone. Phone calls are ripe with opportunities and the faster a caller connects with a friendly voice on the other end, the better. There’s a reason 74% of consumers are very likely to choose another business after having a poor phone experience. Consumers want to connect with your business. And we’re not only talking about phone calls; the same holds true for online chat. A whopping 73% of consumers report satisfaction with their live chat experiences—the highest level of all customer service channels—but just 14% of companies use this technology, and even fewer use it powered by real humans.
Given that 29% of calls lead to a purchase, and 77% of customers say they won’t make a purchase if a brand doesn’t offer live chat support, companies that don’t take these trends seriously risk missing out on lucrative potential revenue. But beyond the immediate opportunities, phone calls and online chat are what differentiate and insulate truly customer-centric brands in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
We live in an era of ubiquitous convenience and instant gratification. An overwhelming majority (75%) of consumers now expect businesses to offer support within five minutes of an inquiry—24 hours per day, seven days per week, 52 weeks per year.
To understand these heightened expectations, look no further than the device in your hand. Smartphones and other internet-enabled mobile devices have transformed our ability to access and act on information. When someone has a question, faces a technical issue, or needs any kind of help from a business, be it a contractor, lawyer, or doctor, they’ll do a quick search to find their website. Most of these visitors have an expectation that they can tap “call now” or “chat with us” and get an immediate response.
Many companies are well aware of this, of course. However, in the rush to create effective marketing and outrank their competitors through effective strategies such as paid advertising or paid search, too many businesses fail to ultimately provide a compelling customer experience. Dollars spent on brand exposure mean nothing when callers are greeted by an answering machine, run through an automated phone tree, placed on hold for inordinate periods of time, or connected to someone who doesn’t understand or isn’t able to address their concerns. Ditto for any website visitor confronted with time-consuming forms, obtuse chatbots, or outsourced chat agents who lack linguistic and cultural fluency, or more importantly, lack a general understanding of their business.
Think your business is an exception? Think again. Although 80% of companies believe they provide excellent customer service, a mere 8% of customers agree. Clearly, organizations are dropping the ball (and dropping calls and online visitors) when it comes to delivering on customer expectations.
At Ruby, we’ve spent the last 16 years helping small businesses deliver unparalleled experiences to their customers and prospects. Our employees are able to provide a personalized level of service powered by an award-winning technology platform that helps us to deliver attention to detail that consistently differentiates us. Here are a few things I’ve learned about how small businesses can grow by creating meaningful human connections:
The secret to extraordinary interactions such as phone calls and chats—or any form of customer service, for that matter—is a lesson we all learn at a young age: treat others how you would want to be treated. With the right tools, support, and mission, it can become second nature. Best of all, personal connections are a virtuous cycle. Help your customers succeed, and they’ll do the same for you.
Molly Moore is the Chief Marketing Officer at Ruby Receptionists. Having spent nearly 20 years as a sales and marketing leader, Molly understands how to build exceptional customer experiences that win trust and build loyalty. Her focus at Ruby is on creating meaningful engagements with prospects and customers, demonstrating how Ruby’s services and technologies can help grow their businesses.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: Want To Retain Your Customers? Make It Personal
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